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Learning Session "C" - Monday April 15, 2024
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


Stars next to the workshop title means the

workshop is Student Oriented 

C1     Build the Right Bridge:  Equity-focused College and Career Planning with the California College Guidance Initiative 

Chris Dech, California College Guidance Initiative, Senior Manager, Engagement and Implementation

Julian McDaniels, California College Guidance Initiative, Director, Engagement and Implementation


CCGI manages, the state of California’s official college and career planning platform.  Offering detailed information, curricula, and tools informed by students’ transcript data, it acts as a one-stop shop to help students discover their college and career goals, make plans for how to achieve them, and launch into fulfilling futures.  In this session, you will learn about the college and career tools available to students, the new caseload management feature, as well as the reporting features that provide educators with the opportunity to track college and financial aid applications for foster youth students.  You will also see the platform in action via a live demonstration, and you are encouraged to bring your devices (e.g., laptops) so you can login yourself to explore further with your own demo account.


C2     Memories Matter: Using Positive Response to Support Learning and Influence Behavior 

Thomas C. Rector, Accrescent Institute, Christine Slette, CASA of Del Norte, Founder


Trauma, behavior and learning issues, instability and neglect.  Our foster youth are constantly in survival mode. How do we get them out of survival mode and better support them on their educational and life journey? In this interactive session, we’ll delve into what’s happening in the brain, it’s development, and the pivotal role memories play in both learning and behavior. Then, we’ll explore how to use this to positively support and influence behavior and learning outcomes.  Equipped with real-life examples and insights from seasoned child advocates, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of why foster youth are struggling, and how positive response techniques can make a difference.


C3     Cross Enrollment In The California Conservation Corps Is A Win For Youth and For Your Outcomes 

Dana Howard, California Conservation Corps


Collaborating with the California Conservation Corps and local non-profit corps can be a path for California’s transitional age youth service providers to reach their reportable outcomes while leading youth to life transforming benefits. The CCC is a State government program operating 25 centers statewide and also certifies 14 non-profit local conservation corps to help youth prepare to enter the workforce. The CCC can provide young adults with life transforming benefits like paid training, stable housing, and dependable income. Walk with us through the enrollment process, hear from TAY who have successfully enrolled in the CCC and transitioned to meaningful careers, and share your insight on how what you learn about the CCC during this session can be applied to your AB12 clients.


C4     Empowering The Next Generation Together and Igniting Success: A NextUp Collaborative Youth-Led Advisory for Seamless Transitions 

Sara Arispe, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Foster Youth Services Program Specialist Manager

Ilinanoa Suliafu, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Foster Youth Services Program Specialist Manager


San Bernardino County continues to explore innovative comprehensive strategies to amplify existing support for foster youth, enhance their educational prospects, and encourage them to become advocates for their own rights and needs. This workshop will shed light on a collaboration that brings together NextUp community college students, local high schools, CSUSB graduate students, and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools to implement a regionalized foster youth- youth advisory that addresses the unique challenges faced by foster youth in their pursuit of post-secondary education and self-advocacy. You will have an opportunity to engage with our partners and gain insights into replicating this model in your region.


C5     Compassionate Education Systems: A Multi-Faceted approach to support students in care through partnership and relationship building 

Joanne Rodriguez, National Center for Youth Law, Program Manager

Kawena Cole, Los Angeles County Office of Education; Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, Coordinator I

Alejandro Ramos,  National Center for Youth Law, Education Liaison

Trish Wilson,  Lancaster School District, Coordinator of Climate, Culture, and Counselors, AB490 Liaison


Compassionate Ed Systems (Formerly FosterEd) will share with participants best practices and strategies to support students in foster care through a multi-faceted approach. Compassionate Ed Systems provides direct service to students by creating meaningful relationships. We also partner with Districts and County Office of Education to support youth in foster care through technical assistance and professional development. In this workshop, we will demonstrate how we utilize student information systems to support youth. You will learn strategies to advocate for youth, increase student self-efficacy, ensure students are aware of their rights and how to build quality relationships with students.  You will also receive tools to increase student engagement, improve goal setting, increase education stakeholder leadership participation in processes to support students and a resource guide that can be used to leverage the community to ensure student’s needs are met.

C6     Using Overnight College Tours to Build Community and Increase College Readiness of Foster Youth 

Elizabeth Bartholomew, Riverside County Office of Education, Director of Pupil and Administrative Services

Lisa Starr, Riverside County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program (FYSCP) Counselor


Come learn how to facilitate overnight college tours post-COVID.  We will share our journey and experiences as we have developed best practices at the County Office of Education level, leveraging the resources of the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program to bring these experiences for our students to fruition.  From the decision of what hotel or meal, what college or location, what form of transportation or how to meet student medication needs, to after-hours activities, we will share our trials and tribulations, allowing attendees to walk our journey of how we determine what paths we offer our students and districts during each round of college tours.


C7     Best Practices for Student Engagement at Imperial Valley College 

Elizabeth R. Sanchez-Reyna, M.Ed., Imperial Valley College, Student Success Specialist/Foster Youth Liaison

David G. Lopez, MSW, Imperial Valley College, MSW/RSP/Academic Counselor


Why is the Resilient Scholars program at Imperial Valley College successful?  Come learn our best practices for student engagement, which are currently being implemented in the program. This will take place through a series of interactive activities and information on tactics implemented during workshops and recruitment at IVC. The goal is to share best practices you could adopt and tailor for the population of students you currently work with, including mental health awareness and academic monitoring.  This session will also cover the importance of interagency networking and communication to improve student outcomes.


C8     Strategically Collaborating with Child Welfare 

Jose Smith, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Coordinator


Working with Students in Care is definitely a job that comes from the heart. Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough to provide the full support that our students in care need. Their needs range from educational, social-emotional, post-secondary, and permanency-specific needs. There is no way, one person can meet these needs. As educators, we need to think outside the box and not only work with each other and other agencies but also within specific agencies. This session will give you specific ways to strategically collaborate with Child Welfare to meet these specific needs. Child Welfare agencies have programs that are truly waiting for your collaboration! Programs like ILP, AB12 Units, Child and Family Teams, Housing Units, and Resource Family Recruitment will be reviewed. Strategies on how to collaborate with these internal Child Welfare Units can truly "up-your-game” as effective, well-rounded, educators that serve students in care.


C9     Improving Educational Outcomes of Foster Youth through the Collaborative Courts Model 

Honorable Craig E. Arthur, Superior Court of California, County of Orange, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge 

Raina Lee, Coordinator, Orange County Department of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program

Griselda Velasco, Program Specialist, Orange County Department of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program


Collaborative Courts can provide individualized responses and case management services for foster youth.  The frequent interaction a youth has with the court, along with specialized services provided to the youth, can enhance performance at school and in the classroom.  The Orange County Juvenile Court has three different collaborative courts meeting the needs of specifically identified populations.  The collaborative court model has effectuated improved outcomes for foster youth.  You will hear from Judge Craig E. Arthur, who is the Juvenile Court Presiding Judge in Orange County.  He presides over two of the collaborative courts in his county and has extensive experience in the juvenile court system.  You will also hear from representatives from the Orange County Department of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program.  This session will address the purpose and structure of the collaborative courts, as well as how youth are identified for the programs, who the partnering agencies are, what resources are offered, and how the members of the team work together to improve each youth’s education outcomes.

C10     CYC 101

Meribe Martin, California Youth Connection

Learn about how young leaders across California have been transforming the foster care and juvenile justice

system over the last 35 years.  We will talk about how organizing can build long-term change in our

communities and how you can get involved to make change locally.

 C11     I Don't Feel Like Talking:  Using Expressive Arts to Support Your

Self Expression 

Christine Dennis,  District Social Worker, Lake Elsinor USD


Join this immersive workshop where you will be guided through interactive projects to experience the effects of expressive arts firsthand. The arts are a diverse tool that can be used with different populations and cultures. Expressive arts can be a valuable tool for you!  The arts are an internal process that does not require another person; making it a valuable method for you to use independently when you do not have anyone to talk to, or when you don’t know how to express and process how you are feeling. Two interactive activities will be facilitated during the workshop. The first activity will allow you to experience a creative writing activity and the second activity will be an art-based activity using paints. This workshop is open to all students and no prior art experience is required.

C12     Education Rights for Youth in Foster Care – Laws and Best Practices Across Systems 

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Alliance for Children's Rights, Assistant Director

School District Representative

Youth with lived experience


Youth in foster care and those on probation have vital education rights including school stability, immediate enrollment, partial credits, and state minimum graduation. These rights are necessary to address the significant challenges that youth in these systems face including high mobility and trauma. However, without the coordinated efforts of schools, child welfare/probation and the court, it can be extremely difficult for youth to benefit from these rights. This is evident in the fact that youth in foster care consistently demonstrate the lowest education outcomes in the state. The Alliance has created a new tool that shares the basics of the law in each area, and then links to tools and best practices for local education agencies, social workers, probation officers, attorneys, youth, education rights holders and judges. You will learn the basics of the law, including the different and intersecting responsibilities of parties across systems. You will then be able to go back to the resource in the future and access all the materials, sample policies and tools that you need to improve your own practices and positively impact education outcomes for youth.


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